(WASHINGTON, D.C. — AUGUST 4, 2011) David Lyle has been named chief executive officer of the National Geographic Channels US and assumes responsibility for global programming. The appointment, which is effective immediately, was announced by the National Geographic Channels board, to whom he will report. The veteran television executive has been working with the National Geographic management team as the head of West Coast development for several months. National Geographic Channels President Steve Schiffman will report to Lyle.
In his new role, Lyle will be responsible for the overall supervision of the domestic channels — which include the National Geographic Channel (NGC), Nat Geo WILD and Nat Geo Mundo —owned jointly by the Fox Networks Group and the National Geographic Society. Since launching in January 2001, the National Geographic Channel has been an unqualified success across all metrics. NGC has had seven consecutive years of ratings growth, something no other network has achieved since NGC’s launch. NGC also outperformed the national cable TV marketplace in revenue and CPM growth for nine consecutive years.
The network has also been widely recognized as an industry leader in terms of quality, with NGC named as a top-five media brand for quality for the last six years, according to a prestigious survey of 25,000 consumers (Harris Interactive® 2011 EquiTrend® Brand Tracking Study). For the last four years, NGC has also earned the most Emmy® nominations for excellence of any ad-supported cable network in the news & documentary competition.
“David brings extensive creative experience and a strong international perspective to this critical role,” said Tim Kelly, president of the National Geographic Society. “He will be focused on delivering compelling popular programming that reflects, enhances and delivers on the substance of the National Geographic brand and mission. We are delighted to have him on our team.”
Lyle will be based in Washington, D.C., where the Channels are headquartered. Acknowledging his new colleagues, Lyle said, “Heading up the National Geographic Channels is a dream job. I will be working with an extraordinary brand and a great team that I’ve come to know and respect over the past few months. I am fortunate to be able to lead a group that consistently delivers top-notch nonfiction programming that resonates with audiences.”
Lyle, who has been with Fox since 2005, previously served as president of Fox LOOK, a unit specializing in the international licensing and production of reality formats, and the Fox Reality Channel, a national cable outlet dedicated to unscripted programming. Prior to joining Fox, he served in senior executive positions at successful production and television companies, including FreemantleMedia, Pearson Television and Australia’s Nine Network.
While president of FreemantleMedia North America, Lyle led a team that launched and guided “American Idol” to three seasons of incredible growth. Previously, he served as worldwide head of acquisition and development for Pearson Television in London. While at Pearson, he helped to coordinate productions across more than two dozen international territories and acquired top U.S. and international unscripted programming formats.
At Nine Network, Lyle served as head of development. Under his leadership, Nine was among the first international broadcasters to create local versions of top formats such as “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and “Changing Rooms,” the basis for TLC’s popular “Trading Spaces” in the United States.
A native of Sydney Australia, Lyle was an exploration geologist and high school chemistry teacher before entering the world of local television as a researcher, writer and producer.
National Geographic Channel
Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channels US are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Cable Networks, governed by a board composed of an equal number of Fox and National Geographic representatives. Launched in January 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) initially earned some of the fastest distribution growth in cable television history and more recently achieved the fastest ratings growth in television. The network celebrated its fifth anniversary in January 2006 with the debut of NGC HD, providing the spectacular imagery for which National Geographic is known in stunning high definition. In 2010, National Geographic Channels US launched Nat Geo Wild, a cable channel focused on wildlife and natural history. The National Geographic Channels US have carriage with all of the nation’s major cable and satellite television providers, with NGC currently available in more than 71 million U.S. homes. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com.